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Published Friday October 22, 2004

Bush backers (they vow) endure lines



While Republicans lined up Thursday to get tickets for President Bush's Monday visit to Council Bluffs, a Democratic official criticized GOP officials for requiring those attending to pledge their support for Bush.

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Bill Boltinghouse of Council Bluffs waited more than two hours Thursday to get tickets to Monday's rally for President Bush at the Mid-America Center in the Bluffs.

Bush fans stood in the rain Thursday outside a former restaurant at 1851 Madison Ave. in the Bluffs to get tickets to the campaign rally Monday at the Mid-America Center.

On the Nebraska side of the river, tickets were being distributed at Douglas County Republican Party headquarters, 11264 Wright Circle, just south of 114th Street and West Center Road.

Party officials said anyone requesting tickets should be a registered Republican, have a photo ID and must have the names of all people attending with him or her (limit of four tickets).

Registered Democrats or independents may be able to get tickets but will probably face questions to confirm that they support the president, said David Overholtzer, co-chairman of the Pottawattamie GOP.

Those requirements drew criticism from Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party. He noted that when Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards campaigned in Council Bluffs last week, "the Kerry-Edwards campaign encouraged all voters to come and hear what their vision for America is - without making them pledge their loyalty."

"It says a lot that our sitting president doesn't have the guts to invite the general public," Rubin said.

Overholtzer offered no apologies for the requirements.

"This is a rally in support of the president," he said. "They are looking for people who support him."

The ticket offices will be open from morning to evening through the weekend until all tickets are gone. The Mid-America Center will hold about 11,000 for the event.

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